We made it! We finally made it! The Dodgers resume play today at Camelback ranch and do so with Clayton Kershaw on the mound against the Chicago White Sox.
Before we get into the specifics of what we’re watching, let’s go over a couple quick notes about this offseason.
Without further ado, here are a few things I’ll be watching for as we finally get to watch out Dodgers in action again.
Look, the Dodgers have as much riding on their young core as any in recent memory. It’d be one thing if this was a situation as we saw with the Lakers this season where rookies could come along slowly (largely in part to their coach, but that’s another story) while the losses piled up.
This team is expected to win the division again and, hopefully contend deeper into the playoffs than the groups who won three straight NL West titles. That doesn’t leave much room for error as Corey Seager and Joc Pederson as they navigate their way through a grueling MLB season.
Does the game today really mean anything for those guys? Not in the slightest, but getting started on a positive note could go a long way in a productive slew of Spring Training games.
Dave Roberts has his work cut out for him this year. He has to manage a collection of veterans and youngsters both from here in the states and abroad that, at times last season, clashed. Watching them under Don Mattingly could get frustrating at times as he forced his more old school mentality on the changing culture in baseball, so Roberts’ tone will be highly interesting to watch.
As the game gets into situations where Roberts has to make managerial decisions, we’ll get out first tastes of what we might expect moving forward. Again, this is only one game in with seemingly infinite to follow this year, so we shouldn’t read too deeply into those calls, especially as Spring Training games are managed differently than regular season or postseason games, but the glimpse is still welcomed.
Look, it’s a Spring Training debut for a pitcher whose aspirations stretch far beyond Camelback Ranch, but if you think he hasn’t heard the rumblings all season about how the Dodgers can’t live without Greinke and hasn’t worked his tail off to prove those doubters wrong, you’re kidding yourself.
Just like with the previous two notes, this start doesn’t really mean anything in the grand scheme of things, but it wouldn’t shock me to see Kershaw go out and try to make a point early in this one.
More than anything, though, I’m just happy to be writing about baseball that’s about to take place, versus which player the Dodgers might sign, which trade might take place or whatever. Spring games are finally underway, which means summer is right around the corner, when games really start to matter.
Think I missed anything? Let me know in the comments below!